If you only have one weekend to seek out almost every motorcycle manufacturer and apparel company on the planet, then there’s no doubt you already know about the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.
Stopping in eleven cities across the United States, the annual event includes demo rides, custom builds, amazing guest speakers, and some of the latest tech from familiar and emerging companies in the motorsports industry. This past weekend the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California played host to the event, and The Ride was there to take in all of the excitement.
Buzz from this year’s show centered around new models like Yamaha’s reinvented R1, Can Am’s super sleek F3, Ducati’s retro-inspired Scrambler, and Suzuki’s much-anticipated GSX-S1000. Some cool surprises for our team this weekend came courtesy of Kawasaki unveiling their new much-hyped, supercharged Ninja H2R, a free screening of 2013’s film Why We Ride, and an insightful Q & A with Charley Boorman and Russ Malkin of Long Way Down and Long Way Round fame (sponsored by Eagle Rider Motorcycle Company).
For those looking to get some seat time on the newest models, this year’s demo selection didn’t disappoint. The cruiser market has been given new life with the rebirth of Indian Motorcycles and their full line was available to test, including the new Scout and Roadmaster. Yamaha, who is hoping to take a bigger bite out of the naked and standard market for 2015, had their new FJ-09 and FZ-07s ready to roll along with favorites like the R6 and Super Ténéré. Not to be outdone, Harley-Davidson undoubtedly shocked some of their purist fans while simultaneously inviting a whole market of new riders into the fold by debuting their new electric bike, Project LiveWire. No you didn’t read that wrong, Harley-Davidson and electric bike just appeared in the same sentence.
Aside from getting to throw a leg over hundreds of different motorcycles, visitors also had the opportunity to shop for all types of motorcycle gear and apparel. However, while there were plenty of both street and off-road vehicles on display, companies specializing in dirt apparel such as Fox, Thor, and Troy Lee Designs were surprisingly not well represented.
Sadly, the showplace overall was smaller than in previous years. This possibly could be attributed to the timing of this year’s show, but we can’t say for sure. (SoCal usually doesn’t get the IMS show until December, but this year it came early.)
Outside the convention center, long time stunt specialist and fan favorite Jason Britton wowed onlookers as he, his riding partner Eric Hoenshell, and Team No Limit put on a heart stopping show aboard their modified Kawasaki ZX6R stunt bikes. Even though she left her stunt bike at home, The Ride host Heather Bonomo still managed to get in on some of the action.
While The Ride team had a great time at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to Southern California this weekend; the show is traveling across the country from now through mid-February. To hold you over until it gets to your town, check out our crew enjoying themselves at the show in the gallery below.